The Kenya Air Force (KAF) commissioned the first of two C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft on February 14 at the Embakasi Garrison in Nairobi.
The aircraft was commissioned after it was officially handed over by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division in Italy on January 30.
Presiding over the commissioning ceremony at Embakasi Garrison, Commander KAF Major General Francis Ogolla said the new acquisition would enhance KAF operations.
“After a rigorous process that has taken almost four years, Kenya Air Force is proud to join other Air Forces (US, Australia, Italy, Chad, Zambia, Morocco among others) that fly the plane,” said Major General Ogolla.
He said a team of pilots, air loadmasters and cabin crew have already received specialized training to ensure efficiency in operating the aircraft.
The Spartan C-27J replaces the Buffalo aircraft which was retired in 2014 after being in operation since 1976. It comes with the capability of airlifting heavy equipment used by the army, helicopters and maritime equipment in support of the Kenya Army and Kenya Navy.
The turbo-prop airlifter has a maximum take-off weight of 32,500 kg and a maximum payload of 11,600 kg. It has the capacity to transport up to 60 troops and can be configured to carry out tactical cargo airdrop, Medevac/Casevac, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support and firefighting missions. According to Leonardo, over 80 have been sold to 15 operators across five continents.